I finished The Land of Open Graves: Living and
Dying on the Migrant Trail.
It was a gift from my friend Carolina,
creator of My (un)Documented Life blog. It was written by Jason De Leόn, an
anthropologist of Mexican descent, who spent 5 years in the field, in his journey
to complete this project. At its heart,
his work depicts the violence faced by border crossers “as they attempt to
enter the US without authorization by walking across the vast Sonoran desert of
Arizona”. Its focus is on the Prevention through Deterrence (PTD) policy
enacted in 1993.
explained that when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed
in 1994, the U.S. promised economic prosperity for Mexico if it would open up
its ports of entry for inexpensive goods. Shortly thereafter, Mexico was
abundant with U.S. subsidized corn that put millions of Mexican farmers out of
me some background on NAFTA. Its purpose was to expand
the flow of goods between Canada, US and Mexic…
Dr. Ledesma’s graphic novel was an easy read yet cut to the core of my pre American life. It was also timely. I recently removed “the undocumented
American experience” from the title of my blog. The reason is that my work, running, family and writing selves were starting to merge in
the online space. I changed the title so that this part of my life would be slightly obscured. After all these years, I am still
This book is a reminder that our stories about having lived
an undocumented life need to be told.
I identified with the author’s undocumented beginnings,
being told that they were going on vacation and never leaving.
family legalized in 1986 with the passing of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act. He then went on to get his undergraduate and
graduate degrees. He worked with an organization within UC Berkeley that
assisted immigrant students. The author wrote that not every student was ready
to come out publicly. He recognized the pressure to confess wh…
As I write this post I am hobbling up and down stairs, aged
about 20 years. I completed my first 25K “race” this past Saturday. I say “race”
because there were many times there was nobody in front or behind me, which is
the nature of trail racing. The longest “race” I had ever done before yesterday
was 10 miles at Evansburg State Park in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago. I got
back into trail running to heal the pain in my right arch. I also found a great
group of women with whom to run. Lastly, I also learned trail running didn’t
have to be so messy (I often fell).
I signed up for the Rough Trail in hopes I would find a
similar group as we moved ourselves from the Northeast to the Bluegrass (and I did).
My partner Nancy was down with a migraine and stomach flu. I
drove to Red River Gorge with another woman from the group. I met her at her
hotel in Lexington and we were on the road at 6:30 am.
I learned Kelsey was recruited to do crew for the University
of Louisville. She signed up …